“This Stock Could Be Like Buying Amazon in 1997” Image source: Getty Images. Harvey Jones has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended HSBC Holdings. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. I’m sure you’ll agree that’s quite the statement from Motley Fool Co-Founder Tom Gardner.But since our US analyst team first recommended shares in this unique tech stock back in 2016, the value has soared.What’s more, we firmly believe there’s still plenty of upside in its future. In fact, even throughout the current coronavirus crisis, its performance has been beating Wall St expectations.And right now, we’re giving you a chance to discover exactly what has got our analysts all fired up about this niche industry phenomenon, in our FREE special report, A Top US Share From The Motley Fool. I would like to receive emails from you about product information and offers from The Fool and its business partners. Each of these emails will provide a link to unsubscribe from future emails. More information about how The Fool collects, stores, and handles personal data is available in its Privacy Statement. Our 6 ‘Best Buys Now’ Shares See all posts by Harvey Jones I’d buy the HSBC share price ahead of the stock market recovery Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we’re offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our ‘no quibbles’ 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee. Harvey Jones | Tuesday, 28th April, 2020 | More on: HSBA Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. Enter Your Email Address The HSBC share price has fallen by a third since Covid-19 struck, pushing it into bargain territory. However, anybody who’s keen to buy it before the stock market recovery also has to accept that its generous dividend has gone, for now.Today, HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) reported a thumping 48% drop in first-quarter pre-tax profit to $3.2bn, after setting aside $3bn to cover bad debts due to Covid-19. The HSBC share price has taken it on the chin though, and is broadly flat today. Frankly, investors feared worse.5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…Despite today’s headline numbers, I think the long-term investment case for the Asia-focused FTSE 100 bank is still promising.The HSBC share price still temptsThe coronavirus has inevitably hit the top line, with reported revenue down 5%, amid lower customer activity. Investors have been warned to expect “materially lower profitability in 2020, relative to 2019.” Management is fighting back by postponing restructuring plans, and 2020 costs will now be lower than previously indicated.HSBC has taken an early hit from the coronavirus, given its outsize Asian exposure. Today could have been a lot worse though. The HSBC share price could recover faster than domestic-focused UK banks, if Asia avoids a second wave of infections. Lending actually increased $41bn and deposits grew by $47bn, on a constant currency basis.Regulators have forced the banks to rebuild their capital bases since the financial crisis, and this is working in HSBC’s favour today. Stock market volatility may help its investment bank, as traders look to take advantage.The big worry is that the crisis will drag on and bad debts increase. HSBC expects impairments of between $7bn and $11bn this year. Higher, and the HSBC share price will suffer.HSBC could lead the stock market recoveryThe Prudential Regulatory Authority forced the banks to scrap dividends and focus efforts on saving businesses and private customers. That’s a shame, as the stock was yielding around 6%. Today, HSBC said it would review its dividend policy around the time of its year-end results for 2020.The ultimate decision could be out of its hands, as regulators may determine what’s allowed. This may extend to share buybacks as well. Once the dividend is restored though, the HSBC share price will get a lift.The global collapse in interest rates will hit net lending margins, but I suspect rates may recover faster this time. With trillions of stimulus set to hit the global economy, we might even see inflation, which would take us into a different world.Ultimately, how fast the HSBC share price recovers depends on that pesky virus. If the world gets back to work in swift order, it’ll look a great buy at today’s price. A second or third wave could wreak havoc though.I would buy HSBC today, based on the optimistic case. Covid-19 pessimists will disagree. Click here to claim your copy now — and we’ll tell you the name of this Top US Share… free of charge!
9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Jeff Mortenson Jeff Mortenson is VP/client relations for AutoPilot® services. Jeff is primarily responsible for client relations surrounding SWBC’s financial institution group’s AutoPilot services; a suite of risk and account management … Web: www.swbc.com Details You keep hearing about the digital revolution—technology is becoming more and more integrated into our daily lives. The way financial institutions transact and communicate with borrowers has evolved as well, largely due to changes in technology and a shifting consumer mindset. There is a push for credit unions to continue finding ways to innovate and stay relevant amongst the competition. The effect that Amazon and other digital retailers have had across many industries has resulted in resetting the average consumers’ expectations. Consumers want options. And the wants of each generation of consumers can be different. It’s frustrating; trust me, I get it. Changes in communication brought about by new technologies of the digital revolution also apply to how you administer and communicate on your accounts that are past due. Thankfully, technology has afforded us ways to become more efficient, more personal, and focused on giving a borrower options that they may not even mind that you’re reaching out to collect payment. Thanks to automation, machine learning, and technology that can be integrated into core systems, the future of interacting with borrowers during the collections cycle is looking very promising. Here’s what I mean. Borrower Contact PreferencesDifferent people prefer communicating through different channels. As technology creates more contact options, it’s important to keep pace with borrower preferences. Phone calls, emails, and text messages are all expected options for borrower-institution communication. Consistency and redundancy are both preferable and possible, with some consumers stating their preference for a given method and others requiring multiple contact methods to gain top-of-mind awareness.In 2015, MarketingSherpa commissioned a study to understand how consumers prefer to be communicated with across more than a dozen channels. With more than 2,000 responses, the majority of U.S. adults prefer email communication—to the tune of 72%! And the astounding fact was that regardless of age group, email was the preferred method to communicate with a company. The late millennials and early Gen X-ers were the biggest champions of email communication at a whopping 87%. So how does this data apply to the collection world? Text-to-CollectIt’s clear by now that credit union members, like almost everybody else in the country, are attached to their mobile phones and devices. As we’ve already discussed, traditional bank competitors and technology firms offering text-to-collect payment options and other specific digital applications are eager to assist today’s consumers if we do not meet their needs.According to a 2019 TechJury article:5 billion people in the world can send and receive SMS messages.SMS messages have a whopping 98% open rate.Text messages have a 209% higher response rate than phone, email, or Facebook.90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes.To make sure your collections team is competitive, you should consider offering text-to-collect and other mobile based services. If your credit union allows members to accomplish their financial tasks from their mobile device via a communication platform that they prefer, such as text messaging, they’ll have no reason to take their business elsewhere.Mobile Payment and Communication SolutionsIt should come as no surprise that consumers rely on their smartphones to get through the day. According to the Pew Research Center’s 2019 research, the vast majority of Americans – 96% – now own a cellphone of some kind. The share of Americans that own smartphones is now 81%, up from just 35% in the Center’s first survey of smartphone ownership conducted in 2011. The numbers tell a revealing story. It’s evidently clear that in order to effectively reach your customers, creating tools and services that are mobile accessible, is a central aspect of an effective omnichannel communications strategy. In order to keep up with the times and your members’ behaviors, it is practically mandatory to implement mobile payment services in today’s collections environment. But, one-time implementation isn’t enough. You must commit to update offerings as the mobile world evolves. Some items to keep top of mind include:Knowing when and where consumers will most likely use their smartphones to make loan paymentsUnderstanding what factors impact the usage and engagement of your consumersLearning how the demographics of your borrowers interact with mobile technologyAn omnichannel strategy involves allowing your borrowers to access payment services from a variety of channels, including a website, a mobile application, social media networks, call centers, and physical branches. To further empower collectors, each channel should also provide metrics so that you can gather data and determine usage and engagement.Keeping up with the pace and lifestyle of your borrowers is not always easy—especially with the rapid pace of advancements in tech. However, connecting with borrowers on their preferred terms is a critical aspect of staying relevant, engaging, and valuable to your members.Advancements in technology have created shifts in borrowers’ communication preferences, and when it comes to collecting payments, it’s important to reach out to borrowers in a way that will encourage engagement—and payments! Learn more about in-house vs. outsourced collections. Download the collections comparison guide today.
Mutko said yesterday that there was “no state doping schemes in Russia”.Calls for a blanket ban on Russia – from both the Olympics and Paralympics – followed the publication of the McLaren report on Monday.The IOC says it will first “take into consideration” a ruling, to be made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) tomorrow, on the legality of banning all of Russia’s track and field athletes.IOC president Thomas Bach said the findings of the report were a “shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games”.Wada president Sir Craig Reedie described the “scope and scale” of the findings as a “real horror story”.He said his organisation wanted the IOC to “decline entries, for Rio 2016, of all athletes” submitted by the Russian Olympic and Paralympic committees.“Is what Russia has done here so bad that it warrants a collective ban – as no Russian can be above suspicion and therefore no Russians should go to Rio?“Or is it a case that individual sporting federations should take into account circumstances and decide for themselves if certain Russian athletes who pass the right tests then they can go? It’s a very complicated area. It looks on the face of this statement that the IOC is edging towards a blanket ban.“Russia will not take any decision about a blanket ban lying down. They want to be at the Olympics. It would be a national humiliation for them not to be. They are sporting superpowers, so they will fight on to try to make sure their athletes are there next month.”Commissioned by Wada, it looked into claims made by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s national anti-doping laboratory.He alleged he doped dozens of athletes, including at least 15 medallists, in the build-up to the Sochi Games.He said this was the result of an elaborate plot with the Russian government, which exploited its host status to subvert the drug-testing programme.Russia topped the table in Sochi, winning 33 medals, 13 of them gold.Rodchenkov, now in hiding in the United States, also alleged he doped athletes before the 2012 Olympics in London, the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow and the 2015 World Swimming Championships in Kazan.It has already suspended a number of senior sports officials following the publication of the McLaren report.Despite his denial of any state-sponsored doping programme, sports minister Mutko told the R-Sport news agency he had suspended anti-doping advisor Natalia Zhelanova as well as Irina Rodionova, deputy head of Russia’s state-funded Sports Preparation Centre, and two other officials.McLaren said Zhelanova and Rodionova had worked closely with Russian deputy sports minister Yury Nagornykh to cover up positive tests since 2011. Nagornykh has also been suspended.Football’s world governing body FIFA will look at claims in the report that Mutko was involved in covering up positive dope tests by footballers.Mutko is a FIFA council member, the president of the 2018 Russia World Cup organising committee, president of the Russian Football Union and a member of UEFA’s executive.Russia’s track and field athletes are already barred from competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio as a result of doping violations.The International Association of Athletics Federations, the body that governs world athletics, voted in June to maintain a global competition ban on the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF).ARAF hopes to overturn the suspension and will find out by tomorrow if its appeal to CAS has been successful.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Russia must wait to learn if it can send a team to next month’s Olympics after calls for it to be barred from the Rio Games for operating a four-year, state-sponsored doping programme.The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it will “explore the legal options” before deciding whether to implement “a collective ban” on all Russian competitors for the global showpiece, which starts on August 5.In the meantime, the IOC has said that it plans to re-test all Russians who competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.This follows the findings of the McLaren report, which said urine samples of Russian competitors were manipulated across the “vast majority” of summer and winter Olympic sports from late 2011 to August 2015.
Thomas P. O’Neill III, the son of Tip O’Neill, has talked about his father and what the Irish Diaspora Award and Donegal means to him.Thomas P O’Neill, the son of Tip O’NeillThe O’Neill roots run deep here in Donegal and all over Ireland, with generations of friends and family and it is really no surprise that Thomas feels so at home when he comes back to visit.“My links to Donegal and Ireland are very family orientated, I have friends in Ireland who I’ve known for decades and my family and I go back and fourth a few times a year. I love visiting Donegal, every time I come here I feel like I’m coming home.” Donegal County Council have been involved in a range of initiatives over the past number of years making initial contacts and discussing areas of potential collaboration and highlighting the importance of keeping the Irish Diaspora on the frontline.The Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora award is a prestigious award that recognizes achievements of members of the Irish Diaspora and the global impact of Irish people everywhere.Thomas talks about poignant memories of Donegal and taking long walks along the waterfront with his father. “I have great memories of Donegal and my father walking with me by the lake at the parkway in Buncrana ands it’s just great to see how far Ireland and the North of Ireland have come since then.”The recipient of the third annual 2014 Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award has been announced as senator Therese Murray President of the Massachusetts State Senate.Talking about this year’s recipient of the award, Thomas says that the award couldn’t have gone to a better person who’s doing great things for Donegal and Massachusetts links.“She comes from a very similar background as the O’Neills and it’s great to see her recognised for her Irish links. She has done wonderful things for Massachusetts and Ireland in terms of making links with the Irish Diaspora.It’s a great achievement not only for her but for all Irish Americans, giving her this award was definitely the right thing to do.”Thomas the oldest son of the late U.S. Speaker Tip O’Neill, began in politics by running his father’s campaigns and later on his own. With family history and big shoes to fill Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and a master’s degree in public administration at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government. Following his father down the rabbit hole of politics in 1972 he ran for a seat in the legislature, the same district his father had once represented, but only stayed for one term.Today Thomas P. O’Neill III is the founder and chief executive officer of O’Neill and Associates, New England’s leading public relations and government affairs consulting firm. O’Neill and Associates integrates federal, state and local government relations with strategic communications, media relations and marketing to provide custom public affairs campaigns to clients in a diverse range of industries.Tip O’ Neill was renowned for helping to change Ireland with his influence and wisdom, and while most remember him as an influential politician, Thomas remembers him just simply as Dad.TIP O’NEILL’S LEGACY LIVES ON IN DONEGAL was last modified: June 14th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:DiasporadonegalTip O’Neill
Creepy cosmologists, who think everything came from nothing, have a fascination with darkness.Watch out for creatures who love darkness rather than light. Their deeds are evillusion.Dark Matter: It Sneaks Up on YouPlacing another piece in the dark matter puzzle (Phys.org) “Very little is known about the exact nature of dark matter,” this article begins. Actually, nothing is known. The only thing cosmologists can say they “know” is what dark matter is not, because every candidate so far has been a no-show (30 May 2019, 26 July 2019). They keep looking, nevertheless, for mysterious unknown stuff that MUST exist, because their pet theories require it. The latest candidate is the axion, a ghostly particle that eludes detection. But is CASPEr really a friendly ghost?Photograph of dark matter. White background provided for contrast.Budker’s group is searching for dark matter through the Cosmic Axion Spin Precession Experiment (CASPEr). The CASPEr group conducts their experiments at the PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM). CASPEr is an international research program that uses nuclear magnetic resonance techniques to identify and analyze dark matter….This particular form of sideband analysis enabled the scientists to search for dark matter in a new frequency range. No dark matter signal was detected, as the CASPEr team reports in the latest edition of Science Advances, allowing the authors to rule out ultralight dark matter with couplings above a particular threshold. At the same time, these results provide another piece of the dark matter puzzle and complement previous results from the CASPEr program reported in June, when the scientists explored even lower frequencies using another specialized NMR method called comagnetometry.They didn’t find it in June, either. Whatever they are looking for, they keep not finding it. To them, it counts as a success.Daily briefing: Why the search for dark matter depends on ancient shipwrecks (The Atlantic). Lead (the metal) is a good shield for radiation. There’s a lot of it down in sunken ships. It might help in the search for dark matter: that is, if they can get the lead out.Particle-physics experiments look for the most fundamental building blocks of the cosmos, including dark matter, an as-yet unseen substance that acts like glue within and between galaxies. This ancient lead, then, is helping humanity unlock the secrets of the universe—but obtaining it often presents practical and ethical uncertainties.Read on to learn about World War II, atomic testing, and historical artifacts. But don’t expect any scientific facts about dark matter. There’s only empty promises about a “discovery [that] will revolutionize our future,” if they ever find the dark stuff.Axion particle spotted in solid-state crystal (Science Daily). Did they really spot a particle of dark matter? Did the hopeful monsters at Max Planck actually see an axion? Can cosmologists celebrate, now that “Scientists have spotted a famously elusive particle: The axion – first predicted 42 years ago as an elementary particle in extensions of the standard model of particle physics”? Well, it depends on what they mean by “spotted.” If you raise the perhapsimaybecouldness index sufficiently high, you can propose that a particular quantum properties of a charge-density wave of a dark crystal might be consistent with the predicted features of the theoretical particle. It’s like an eager hunter saying he spotted a tiger. Other striped things could also be be consistent with what he thought he saw.Beware the Dark Energy, My Son5,000 Mini-Eyes Just Blinked Open to Scan the Skies for Dark Energy (Live Science). It’s downright spooky. “Thousands of tiny eyes just blinked open and will soon scan 35 million galaxies for evidence of dark energy.” The ghost of DESI is prowling about on Kitt Peak.These 5,000 mini-telescopes make up the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), which was installed on the Mayall Telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona. Astronomers recently completed the first test run of the nearly-complete DESI, which, from its high mountain perch, will soon scan the cosmos for dark energy, beginning early next year.Dark energy is a ghost, they say. “Dark energy is an invisible force that’s thought to be accelerating the expansion of the universe and is thought to make up 68% of it, according to the statement.” Who thought that? Did you? Welcome to the spooky use of Tontologism, employed frequently by true believers in occult physics.Does this pie chart represent reality?Probing the Universe’s Dark Energy with a super-telescope (BBC News). A video clip with spooky music tries to convince you, like a Twilight Zone episode, that all we know, love and experience is only a small fraction of a dark, ghostly reality out there. But there’s a moment of comic relief when astronomer Ofar Lahav says, “It’s just embarrassing to live in a Universe where we understand only 5% of it.” Speaking of dark energy, Pallab Ghosh admits, “Scientists… haven’t got a clue what it is.” More spooky music, then a woman scares the children with thoughts of parallel universes in a multiverse. Maybe more mysterious unknown stuff is leaking out of those universes and driving ours to rip apart! [Cue sound of scream.]A crisis in cosmology: New data suggests the universe expanding more rapidly than believed (Phys.org). If Keck Observatory scientists keep looking in the dark, they might find something: darkness.The team’s results add to growing evidence that there is a problem with the standard model of cosmology, which shows the universe was expanding very fast early in its history, then the expansion slowed down due to the gravitational pull of dark matter, and now the expansion is speeding up again due to dark energy, a mysterious force. Spider in shale still glows (Tae-Yoon S Park / Paul Seldon)Dark energy: new experiment may solve one of the universe’s greatest mysteries (The Conversation). Like Dad reading a scary story to the kids on Halloween, Bob Nichol tells about DESI and other hunters in the dark, ending with a photo of astronomers in clean-room suits peering through a lens, looking like ghosts.The ‘Dark’ Legacy of Nobel Prize Winner Jim Peebles (Space.com). Astrophysicist Paul Sutter tells his ghost story about Jim Peebles, one of the culprits behind the dark matter mystery story. “Peebles and his friends led the way to explaining the origins of the cosmic web, finding that structures in our universe grow slowly over time, building up from smaller bits to larger bits with every passing eon.”Oh, great. Now we have to worry about the Cosmic Spider.If you’re tired of mystery stories in the dark, come out into the light and learn about Reformation Day, October 31. It’s the day that opened the doors in a world of darkness, tradition, authority and superstition, to bring in the light of God’s Word. “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130).Recommended Resource: Illustra DVD “Call of the Cosmos” talks about real things out there. See sample clip below.Now on sale: 50 DVDs for $75. Give copies to family and friends!Episode from this DVD: see it also on TheJohn1010Project.com (Visited 404 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
VANCOUVER – Teck Resources Ltd. lowered its guidance for steelmaking coal sales for the first quarter as it worked to finish repairs to its coal drying complex in B.C. that was damaged earlier this year.The company says steelmaking coal sales volumes for the quarter are now expected to be about six million tonnes compared with earlier guidance for 6.3 million to 6.5 million tonnes.The coal dryer at Teck’s Elkview operations was damaged in January in what a union executive described as an explosion.Teck says the coal dryer has been recommissioned after a “pressure event” and full commercial production is expected to resume early next week.Production lost due to the incident was estimated to be about 200,000 tonnes of clean coal and repairs were estimated at less than $10 million, in line with earlier estimates.Teck says coal sales continued to be hurt by logistics issues during the quarter, particularly ongoing poor performance at Westshore Terminals.Companies in this story: (TSX:TECK.B)
GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – The Grande Prairie RCMP say they’re still investigating the disappearance of a woman nine years ago, and are hoping members of the public might have more information about the case.It was nine years ago Thursday when Jody Hockett was last seen in Grande Prairie. Hockett was last seen entering a white vehicle outside of the York Hotel on February 22, 2009.Hockett is described as Caucasian, standing 5’5” tall, with blue eyes and dyed strawberry blonde hair. When she was last seen she was wearing jeans, a tank top, a black zip-up hooded sweatshirt, and high heeled shoes with fur on them. Hockett was 33 years old at the time of her disappearance. She may also be known by the names “Jody Smith”, “Jodi” or “Jessie”.After years of searching for her, Jody’s family is looking for closure. Police say they are continuing to actively investigate all leads, and urge anyone with any information about Jody Hockett’s disappearance to contact Grande Prairie RCMP Detachment at 780-830-5700. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1.800.222.8477 (TIPS).Photo supplied by RCMP
Bhubaneswar: Seeking a relaxation in disaster assistance norms, the Odisha government on Wednesday estimated a tentative loss of Rs 12,000 crore due to cyclone Fani that killed at least 64 people and damaged more than 5 lakh dwelling units in the state’s coastal districts.The state government, which has launched a massive restoration work in the cyclone-ravaged areas, in a preliminary report to a visiting inter-ministerial team, said an initial assessment has put the overall loss at approximately Rs 12,000 crore. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghWhile the loss to public properties was to the tune of Rs 5,175 crore, expenditure towards relief and response stands at Rs 6,767.56 crore, the report said. “We have submitted a tentative loss figure to the central team. This amount may increase as the officials will undertake door-to-door survey to access the actual loss caused by the cyclone. The government will prepare a full report on the loss after the completion of the detailed survey,” Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadIn its preliminary report, the state government has estimated the highest loss in the power sector at Rs 1,160 crore, while the loss in the panchayati raj and the drinking water department stands at Rs 587 crore. “The loss shown in the preliminary report is purely tentative. It will go up as we get a detailed report,” Chief Secretary A P Padhi said after a meeting with the central team, which wrapped up its three-day visit to the cyclone-hit areas. Stating that there has been huge losses to public and private infrastructure in the calamity, Padhi said, “We have urged the central team to consider revising the norms of the NDRF and the SDRF so that the loss in the power sector can be covered.” Padhi said while the NDRF and SDRF norms include assistance for loss due to the damage of 220 KV, 132 KV, 33 KV, 11 KV and low tension power supply, there was no provision for losses in the high tension (HT) power supply. As many as 75 towers have been uprooted by the high velocity winds in Puri district alone and a huge investment is required to make them operational. Vivek Bharadwaj, Additional Secretary in the Union Home Ministry, who is heading the team, said: “There has been massive destruction to houses, hotels and livelihood means of the affected people. Puri has been severely hit in the cyclone.” Noting that the central government has been assisting the cyclone-ravaged state and will continue to do so in restoration and rehabilitation works, Bharadwaj said there is a need to further strengthen the MGNREGA scheme in order to provide livelihood means to the affected people. He said there has been a substantial loss to betel vines and coconut plantations. “Keeping in view the gravity of the devastation, the Odisha government’s action in providing relief and other assistance to the affected people is praiseworthy,” Bharadwaj said, adding that people have been provided with relief immediately after the cyclone. “The people have been given rice, cash and tarpaulin sheets,” he said. The 11-member central team visited some of the worst-affected areas in Puri, Khurda and Cuttack districts, besides the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) region, during its visit.
TRIPOLI – Since the fall of Gadhafi, African migrants mainly from Chad, Niger and Mali have been flocking to Libya hoping to get work or a boat to Italy. AA reporter Assed Baig goes to detention centres in Tripoli to meet some of them.Armed men guard the entrance of the zoo in Tripoli, some are dressed in military fatigues, whilst others stand around smoking. Beyond the windy road lies a ‘detention centre’ run by a former militia that now works under the Interior Ministry. The area around the gates of the zoo still has some of its former lustre, designed to attract Libyans to its once scenic grounds.The militia were initially charged with zookeeping, but as the problems in Libya multiplied, so have their responsibilities. They are now charged with dealing with migrants and comb the streets of Tripoli looking for migrants without valid visas or documentation. Commander Said Gars Alaha sits on an old sofa placed in the shade, outside the door to the facility. A small table in front of him, he has a file and an empty cup sitting next to it. Inside, migrants are lined up against the wall. Uniformed men wearing medical facemasks inspect any documentation the migrants may have whilst asking them questions. Gars Alaha wears a blue uniform with military style black boots. He has a neatly kept short grey beard and welcomes us warmly. He is keen to point out that this is a processing facility and that migrants are not kept here for more than 72 hours.“This is not a prison”, he points out to me.None of the guards inside seem to be carrying guns. He tells me that he is upset at foreign journalists twisting the story and making it seem like migrants are being kept with animals.“I am happy for you to look around, as long as you tell the truth,” says Alaha.There are various pick-up trucks and police cars parked around the grounds, including a minibus with caged windows. I am told that this is for transporting migrants to another facility.Inside, the migrants line up, most are Black Africans. Abdullah, the guard, inspects their passports. None of the men have a valid entry stamp. Some do not have passports. 27-year-old Fafuna Musa from Mali, tells me that he came to Libya to feed his family, “I just want to earn money and go home to my family”. This is a common story told here. Migrants are unlikely to admit that they will attempt to journey further to Italy. Most end up working in Libya trying to earn money to feed themselves and their families back home. Some save up to take the dangerous journey by boat to Italy. During Gadhafi’s regime numbers of African migrants from Libya were stemmed as Gaddafi asked for money from European countries to prevent a ‘Black Europe’. Since his fall the levels have increase as lack of security allows smugglers more freedom to operate.The migrants look tired. Their clothes are ripped and some do not have any shoes. Most have travelled the desert to get to Libya, a journey that can take up to a month depending on where they are coming from. Some have travelled from as far-a-field as Nigeria.There is dust and dirt all over their clothes. Some of these men work on construction sites. The youngest is 18 years old.Fafuna looks over 50 but tells me he is only 27. I question him further, and he responds by saying, “Anna miskeen,” meaning “I’m poor” in Arabic. The guard says the story is always the same and replies, “ I know that all of you are ‘miskeen’.”Some of the migrants are cut and are bleeding. The guard is quick to tell me that the wounds were caused when the migrants ran from the police. I ask the migrants to make sure that this is true; they confirm the guard’s version of events.Badara is another detainee, he works in a restaurant and is using his mobile phone to call his boss. He says that his boss has his paperwork and passes the phone over to the guard so that he can speak to the restaurant owner. A look of desperation runs across his face as he hopes that his boss will be able to secure his release. Many businesses in Libya rely on migrant labour. It is cheap and as in countless other countries Libyan’s sometimes do not want to do the jobs that migrants are prepared to do.I am led through the facility and I spot some blood on the floor. Again Abdullah is quick to point out to me where the blood has come from. They have come very aware of the negative publicity that this facility has received recently.Outside in the courtyard Egyptians and Tunisians are queuing at a door to a small room. Their blood will be tested for any diseases, Abdullah tells me, specifically for HIV and Hepatitis. We are then taken to one of the main detention rooms. The guard signals for the men to stand up and come to the front. I stop him; I don’t want orchestrated pictures for the benefit of the media. He opens the padlock to the iron barred room. I take pictures of young men as they sit on the floor of the room.There are two mats on the floor and I count 12 detainees. My guide points out to me that they have two air-conditioned rooms, a toilet and bottled drinking water, but this room is not particularly clean. The men are ushered out and back through to the main hall leading to the entrance, where the get into a van to be taken to another detention facility to which we do not have access. The commander assures me that those that do not have valid visas, documentation or passports will be repatriated to their countries of origin.Earlier this year Amnesty International said that refugees, asylum seekers and migrants were being held in ‘deplorable conditions’ in Libya. The human rights organisation visited seven “holding centres” in April and May this year. Amnesty international said they found “evidence of ill-treatment, in some cases amounting to torture”. The organisation also said that many foreign nationals were being held in Libya and were subjected to “arbitrary arrests and held for long periods in deplorable conditions at immigration detention facilities described by the Libyan authorities as “holding centres”, with no immediate prospect of release or redress in sight.”We have had no problem accessing this facility, but there are others detention centres and prisons that we do not have access to. We spoke to a former prisoner of a facility in Khums to the east of Tripoli. He alleged that routine beatings and sexual assault were a common practice. One detainee told Anadolu, on condition of anonymity, that women were forced to have sex with guards in exchange for their release.However, in this detention centre the guards and commander are keen to point out what they consider to be good treatment of the detainees. We did not see any of the guards shout or use force whilst we were there.“They eat what we eat,” Gars tells me, referring to the sandwiches and they ate. “We have women to take care of and check the women. We do not treat people badly,” he adds.We also visited a detention facility in Sabha, the largest city in the south of the country and usually the first city that migrants arrive in when entering Libya. Although we were allowed on to the facility, we were not permitted to see where the detainees were being kept. According to the Deputy Commander Al-Medani Muhammed Al-Zarouq there are 600 undocumented migrants being kept at the facility. A local resident of the city who has seen the facilities told me they were very dirty and difficult to enter because of the smell. This could be why I was refused entry to see the migrant’s living conditions, 600 people enclosed in a small building, not allowed to leave, in the hot conditions of Libya, is bound to result in terrible conditions. There was no mention of air-conditioning at the Sabha facility.I was told that the migrants are divided into nationalities and that the majority of are from Niger, Chad and Mali.“We cannot send some migrants back to their countries, like those from Somalia and Eriteria, as they are refugees,” says Al-Zarouq.The undocumented migrants from Niger are sent back to their country in trucks, paid for by the interior ministry he tells me. I am shown the kitchen of the facility, but am not permitted to take any pictures or speak to the migrants working there. It seems clean. There are crates full of freshly cooked packed lunches. Al-Zarouq opens one for me, pointing out that he, the guards, and the detainees all eat the same food. Each little box has macaroni and a piece of chicken in it, and I can still see the steam rising from the food. The rest of the facility seems to be undergoing some renovation. There are two armed guards standing around, the majority of whom are unarmed.There are many detention centres and prisons spread across Libya. The number of detainees is unknown at the moment as numbers fluctuate as people are released, repatriated or transferred to other facilities. Undocumented migrants that are captured face a long detention, repatriation and in some cases physical abuse. The future of Libya’s prisons and detention centres is uncertain until the government manages to bring everything under control and conform to international standards of transparency and access.As I leave the detention centre in Tripoli I can see some of the migrants praying their noon prayer. They sit on the prayer mats long after their Libyan counterparts have finished praying. Their hands are raised in supplication towards the sky. Their heads tipped down like wilted flowers, they pray for relief, for a way out of this detention centre, for their loved ones at home, and for a miracle. MARCO LONGARI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
CAIRO – Egypt’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Wednesday called a meeting of the military’s top council to tender his resignation ahead of a likely presidential bid, state media reported.Sisi’s aides have said the field marshal, who toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July, will contest elections due before the summer.Sisi gathered his belongings in his defence ministry office before starting the meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the official newspaper Al-Ahram reported on its website. A senior military officer confirmed to AFP that Sisi would resign on Wednesday.The wildly popular field marshal, who is also defence minister, must resign from the army before standing in the election, which he is expected to win.